Church of England and Generali join UN’s Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The Church of England and insurance firm Generali are the latest organisation to sign up to the UN's Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, a coalition with more than $4.3trn in assets under management attempting to engage with corporates to reach net-zero emissions.

Church of England and Generali join UN’s Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The announcement was made at Davos

The Church of England’s three National Investing Bodies (NIBS) – the Church Commissioners for England, the Church of England Pensions Board and CBF Church of England Funds – representing more than £12bn, have joined the Alliance.

The funds have been joined by insurance firm Generali, which has around $554bn in assets under management as of the end of June 2018.

The Alliance was set up in September 2019 by investors collectively responsible for investments worth $2.4trn at the time, committing to ensure that their respective portfolios are carbon-neutral by 2050. There are now 18 members, with collective assets under management of more than $4.3trn.

The Church Commissioners for England’s chief executive Andrew Brown said: “Climate change is the challenge of our age. The 2020s are the decade in which we need to make decisive progress, both halting the growth in global GHG emissions and setting the world on course to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“As part of our commitment to the Paris Agreement, the Church Commissioners are pleased formally to state our commitment to transition our investment portfolio to net-zero emissions by 2050. We urge all governments, investors and companies also to commit to net-zero 2050 to address the climate emergency.”

1.5C ambitions

In joining the alliance, insurers, re-insurers and fund managers are required to ensure that companies backed by their portfolios are operating in line with the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious 1.5C trajectory. As per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) advice, reaching 1.5C will require global carbon emissions to reach net-zero by mid-century.

The Alliance has also outlined its areas of focus for 2020. Members will advance the measurement and public reporting of climate-related data, engage with portfolio companies on setting net-zero targets and engage policymakers on net-zero legislation and ambitions.

The announcement was made at Davos, where the Alliance is engaging with more than 50 C-suite representatives of portfolio firms. All business leaders and companies attending the World Economic Forum in Davos this week have been asked to make public commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.

Generali’s chief investment officer Tim Ryan said: “We are proud to be part of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. It is about walking the talk and further aligning our investment portfolio to our long-term commitments. As a financial services operator, we feel the responsibility of contributing to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Matt Mace

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